While the overall Indiana General Fund Budget has grown faster than inflation, growth in Indiana’s budget for public school personnel has not. As of October of 2022, the current budget for the majority of the personnel in public, charter, and voucher-receiving schools is $590M behind the 2009-10 budget when inflation is taken into account. The current budget, at the time it passed, significantly made up the difference on a year to year basis; however, recent spikes in inflation have eaten those gains.
All comparisons run from Jan of 2010 to Oct of 2022 unless noted.
The Consumer Price Index (inflation rate) has grown by 37.64%.
The Indiana General Fund (i.e., monies legislators control) has grown by 39.24%.
The K-12 Tuition Support Budget has grown by only 28.34%. The Tuition Support Budget funds nearly all personnel working in public, charter, and voucher-receiving schools.
This $590M deficit is even worse when the Tuition Support budget is examined on a per student allocation. Here are the enrollments for 2009-10 to 2022-23.
In the 2009-10 school year the General Assembly took over the responsibility of paying Indiana’s educators. That year, the General Assembly allocated $6192 per student to the Tuition Support Budget for that purpose.
This year the Tuition Support Budget allocates $7809 per student. That allocation is calculated by adding the number of Public and Charter students to 90% of the Voucher students (Vouchers are worth 90% of the tuition support) divided by the Tuition Support Budget.
If the per student allocation had kept pace with inflation, the Tuition Support Budget would allocate $8515 per student (Public, Charter, and .9 of Voucher), and would produce a total budget of $8,985,707,497. This is a shortfall of $745M.
As of October 2022, on a per student allocation, the 2022-23 Tuition Support Budget is 9% behind the inflation adjusted 2009-10 school year budget.
How Vouchers Work
Depending on family income and number in the household, all qualifying children can receive a Voucher worth 90% of their local public school’s per student funding; this is new this year.
To qualify, the student must be a member of a household with an annual income of not more than 300% of the amount required for the individual to qualify for the Free/Reduced Lunch program. There are a few exceptions.
The Voucher money is not taken from the local school, it is taken out of the Tuition Support Budget, (there is not a simple transfer of funds between the two schools). In 2022-2023, about $264.3M of this budget was set aside to fund Vouchers — with very little to no accountability. It should be noted the actual expense of the Voucher Program for the 2022-23 school year is around $313.7M. Again, with very little to no accountability.
Essentially the Voucher Program has increased the number of students funded in the Tuition Support Budget without a corresponding increase in funding by the General Assembly. This impacts the amount of money allocated per student for the whole state and directly impacts teacher pay.
There is no fiduciary oversight by the state of the Voucher money.
There are no requirements that keep Voucher taxpayer dollars from being used to enable the receiving organization to redirect its existing money for non-education purposes.
The link below will take you to a Google sheet with the latest data:
IDOE – Students Mobility After ADM Count Date request
IDOE – Historic Voucher v Traditional Enrollment numbers request
IDOE – Number of teachers request
Budget Numbers from https://www.in.gov/sba/2364.htm
IDOE Public Corporation Transfer Report
Bureau of Labor Statistics